360° Coverage : Entrepreneur: The French Do Have A Word For It

2 Updates
Entrepreneur: The French Do Have A Word For It

Entrepreneur: The French Do Have A Word For It

Feb 14 2014, 10:23am CST | by

There’s no firm evidence that he actually ever said it, but President George W. Bush’s reputed utterance to British Prime Minister Tony Blair that ‘the trouble with the French is that they don’t...

Filed under: news


35 weeks ago

Entrepreneur: The French Do Have A Word For It

Feb 14 2014, 10:23am CST | by

There’s no firm evidence that he actually ever said it, but President George W. Bush’s reputed utterance to British Prime Minister Tony Blair that ‘the trouble with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur’ probably echoed a widely held notion that France wasn’t a country one immediately associated with entrepreneurs.

Wrong. The country is full of them. It’s just that building big name international companies has traditionally never been their strongest point. French start-ups, for the most part, been content to stay local and enjoy success at that level.

This is partly due to modest venture capital activity. A start-up that raises $10 million for a Series A in the US, would raise $500,000 in France, where there is a smaller domestic market, limited exits on the stock market, and less of an appetite for global expansion.

Communication skills are another Achilles heel, with a language barrier that has kept French entrepreneurial activity off the radar of English-speaking business journalists and VC investors, whose prime European focus has been mainly on UK and German start up activity.

International presence

And France has also lacked significant international aspirations to think big. Until now.

Iconic brands such as Hermes, Chanel, and Renault aside, the number of French fashion retail brands with an international presence is growing; The Kooples, Loft, Sandro, Maje, and Celi, to name a few, while French tech successes include ad tech firm Criteo which secured a $1.5 billion listing on the Nasdaq, and business intelligence software firm Business Objects, acquired by SAP for $6.78 billion in 2007.

But it is the dawning of the digital start up era that has stirred entrepreneurial fervour in people who once might have worked for the state, but are now keen to go it alone.

A key area of digital start up growth in France is online retailing and the hosted marketplace, an arena in which online marketplace technology provider Mirakl has flourished.

Launched in 2011, the company provides a marketplace to some of Europe’s biggest retailers, including Galeries Lafayette, which has doubled online product range as a result,  and French e-tailer Fnac, whose product range has grown from 600,000 to 15 million, and marketplace sales of €52million ($71 million) in 2012.

Mirakl, which launched its UK operations in October last year, has raised €2.5million ($3.4 million) in investment. The strategy, says co-founder Adrien Nussenbaum, was always to build a global business.

“We have 40 employees based out of Paris, a quarter of them from overseas, and 25% of our customers are international leading retailers. We are opening offices in London and New York and strengthening our board with international experienced entrepreneurs. Our next round of funding will be with US investors,” he said.

The intention is to emulate those French digital entrepreneurs who have achieved international recognition, including Marc Simoncini, founder of dating site Meetic, Jacques-Antoine Granjon, founder of private sales Vente-Privée.com,  and Xavier Niel, founder of telco Free and now worth over €6 billion ($8.2 billion).

And many of them are now ‘giving back’, by investing in new digital companies. Niel, an early investor in Mirakl has invested over €100 million ($136 million)of his own money in start-ups, including the mobile payment gateway Square.com. Mirakl’s Series A lead investor was also the seed investor in Criteo, one of France’s biggest success of the last decade.

“This gives us a great support and triggers bigger ambitions,” says Nussenbaum.

Lively life science sector/>/>

Biotech is another buoyant start up sector. According to stats from France Biotech, an umbrella organisation for life science companies, €364 million ($482 million) was raised in 2012, an increase of 27% on the previous year, with IPOs and venture capital key sources of capital.

Many of these science and research-based start ups have benefited from French start up tax incentives, including Jeune Entreprise Innovante  - young innovative company  - (JEI) status, with tax exemptions on labour costs for research employees,  and Crédit d’Impôt Recherche (CIR) – research and development tax credit – as well as growing investment in tech clusters.

French President François Hollande’s visit to Dijon-based Oncodesign, last year was seen as a public show of support for what the drug discovery firm – currently researching new therapeutic solutions for neurodegenerative disorders in collaboration with Belgian firm UCB – and the French life science sector as a whole has accomplished in terms of innovation.

However, with France’s huge public deficit, and economic growth at a crawl, it remains to be seen whether Hollande will make good on his promise to improve JEI tax breaks.

For some, the biggest challenges for enterprise entrepreneurs stem from the country’s socialist traditions, and the perception of privately-owned companies by a sizeable chunk of the population as places where man exploits man for profit.

“There is still a lot of mind changing to do,” says Nussenbaum.

The French have a word for that, too. Révolution.

Source: Forbes Business


7 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the workforc ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore


7 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH1 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore


Don't miss ...


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

WHO declares Nigeria officially Ebola-free (Roundup)
Abuja/Dar-es-Salam/Tokyo, Oct 20 (IANS) The World Health Organisation (WHO) Monday officially declared Nigeria Ebola-free , after no new cases were confirmed in the past 42 days, even as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) appealed to the donor community to provide grants to countries affected by the deadly virus.
IMF appeals for help to Ebola-hit countries
Dar-es-Salam, Oct 20 (IANS) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Monday appealed to the donor community to provide grants to countries affected by the Ebola outbreak to avoid a decline in their economies.
Japanese firm to produce more drug for Ebola
Tokyo, Oct 20 (IANS) Japan's Fujifilm Holdings Corporation announced Monday that it will start production of the anti-influenza drug Avigan in preparation for a larger number of patients infected with the Ebola virus.
Algeria denies Ebola detection reports
Algiers, Oct 20 (IANS) Algeria Monday denied reports of detection of Ebola virus cases in its territory, media reported.

Latest from the Network

1,074 new dengue cases in Chinese province
Beijing, Oct 18 (IANS) China's Guangdong province has reported 1,047 new cases of dengue fever, health authorities said Saturday. Six people have already died in Guangdong -- five in Guangzhou and one in adjacent...
Read more on Business Balla
Blake Lively 'always' wanted to be mum
Blake Lively has ''always'' wanted to be a mother. The 27-year-old actress is expecting her first child with husband Ryan Reynolds and she admits she's been dreaming of this moment since she was a youngster. Speaking...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Kris Jenner 'torn apart' by Bruce's new relationship
Kris Jenner feels ''torn apart and angry'' that Bruce Jenner is dating her former assistant. The 58-year-old matriarch split from the 64-year-old Olympic gold medalist last October following 22-years of marriage but is...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini won't move to France
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini doesn't want to move to her husband's home country of France. The 'X Factor' judge, 31, who comes from Newcastle, is adamant she won't be relocating any time soon to suit her new spouse Jean-...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Lance Bass sets wedding date
Lance Bass has set a date for his wedding. The former *NSYNC singer and his partner Michael Turchin, who have been dating for two-and-a-half years, are to tie the knot on December 20, 2014, a representative for the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Nepal avalanche toll reaches 39
Kathmandu, Oct 18 (IANS) At least 39 climbers died while hiking on a key Nepali route after it was hit by a major snowstorm and avalanches earlier this week, BBC reported Saturday citing officials. Over 350 stranded...
Read more on Politics Balla
Jake Gyllenhaal says society is complicit in 'nightcrawling'
Jake Gyllenhaal says almost everybody in society ought to relate to his new movie 'Nightcrawlers'. The eagerly-awaited film concerns those people who monitor police scanners and then race to crime scenes to film eye-...
Read more on Movie Balla
India eves look for first win in AFC U-16 qualifiers
Dhaka, Oct 18 (IANS) India will hope to register their first win of the 2015 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Women's Championship qualifiers when they take on hosts Bangladesh in a crucial encounter at the...
Read more on Sport Balla
Moyes mulling return to management
London, Oct 18 (IANS) Former Manchester United manager David Moyes said that he is ready to revive his managerial career six months after being sacked by the 'Red Devils'. "I am ready to return. I have enjoyed the...
Read more on Sport Balla
Ebola fears loom over Ghana hosting AFCON
Accra (Ghana), Oct 18 (IANS) The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) cautioned the government Saturday against hosting the 2015 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), despite a request by the Confederation of African Football (...
Read more on Sport Balla